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Judge James W. Smith

Searching for my earliest Austin family roots, I discovered this Austin Gazette

article dated Jan 27, 1841. The old news story from microfiche at the Austin

History Center was difficult to read. It was about my Great Great Grandmother

Margaret Smith-Van Cleve’s brother, First Supreme Court Justice of Travis County, James W. Smith. The notice about his murder and his son being captured by Comanche piqued my interest.

The article states:

Murdered on Friday the 22d, a short distance above Austin, by a savage band of hostile Indians, who are supposed to have been hovering about the neighborhood of this city for the purpose of stealing, the horse? of Judge Smith, Chief Justice of the county of Travis. His son Fayette who was with him at the time, is supposed alive but taken away by the Indians. Judge Smith was much respected by all who knew him.

Read more in Comanche Trace, the fourth book in the Westward Sagas series. The

story of Fayette’s capture and the Texas Ranger that went after him makes a great


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